Art beneath your feet: trail building in the 21st century

Mike Benson and crew are laying out the block and tackle system to move the larger boulders up the slope. The young women pictured were able to hoist 300- to 500-pound boulders fairly quickly.

By Kim Frier

The Forest Service began building trails in the 1890s when the national forests were first set aside as forest reserves. 

Those trails were not the scenic walks we have today but designed as the quickest way between two points and built primarily for firefighting or delivery of materials. 

At the time, recreational use of trails wasn’t really the leading thought process.

In the old days, before GIS and cellphones, Forest Service trails were the means of communication between remote stations. 

Mostly done on horseback or by foot, employees and volunteers moved from tower to tower during fire season or delivered goods to work crews and caught up on any news. 

In 1968 the National Trails System Act was passed. It established four major trail systems, national recreation trails, national scenic trails, national historic trails, and connecting or side trails. 

You need to be logged in to view the rest of the content. Please . Not a Member? Join Us

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *